The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – Another thing the Kiwis have that the Aussies can’t get their hands on.

It may be “four more years” before the Aussies get near the Rugby World Cup, but hopefully they will be able to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 before then.

In case you missed it, Apple is taking Samsung to court in several jurisdictions claiming it’s patents have been infringed.  Thus far Apple has been successful in Germany where sales have been banned by the court, and more recently in Australia were a temporary injunction has been put in place to precent sales.

For an interactive view of the “Tablet Tiff” follow this link to the Wall Street Journal interactive guide.

To put it in context, here’s a rundown on the Tab 10.1.  It’s a tablet, touch screen computer that runs on Android software. It has a crystal clear 10.1 inch HD screen and can run flash videos and websites straight out of the box.  What else might you like?  Hmm well, the 2mp front and 3mp rear facing cameras are quite nice,  as is the inclusion of a rear flash and dual speakers. Looking at the software for a moment, you can access the full suite of Google software (Gmail, YouTube etc), browse the web, read books and view or edit business documents with relative ease.

Hands on, the Tab is a joy to use.  It is pleasantly light enough to be held with just one hand (thanks in no small part to it’s choice of lightweight materials, for instance the plastic, rather than metal, rear case).

What is it like to use?  It is definitely the best Android tablet I have used, beating a number of Archos units and the previous Galaxy Tab (7″ and 9.8″).

Now let’s look at it in relation to the iPad 2.  I have been using an iPad 2 for the past 6 months and find it indispensable.  Initially my iPad experience was lukewarm but as more and more useful apps came along, the iPad began to fit snugly into my work and social life (lives?).

But I’m well aware there is a significant proportion of the potential tablet buyer market who wouldn’t go near Apple.  Why? Perhaps it’s because the brand is just too cool for school, or because their system is closed and some people just like to tinker. Android appeals to the Occupy Wall Street brigade.  It is open source, it appears to be for the greater good, it is less Closed American Corporate.

If you have to ask how it compares with the iPad I would say it is an 8 out of 10 compared to the iPad’s 9 out of 10. It lacks the fluidity of use, or the ease of syncing with a programme like iTunes. There is a dearth of apps for the 10,1 but this is bound to grow if and when the Tab gains traction in the market.

Another minor annoyance is how some websites identify the tab 10.1 as a mobile device and deliver .mob pages rather than full HTML.  It takes a bit of browser hunting and plugins to fix this bugbear.

All in all, while the iPad feels like a device from the future, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 feels like a really decent touch screen computer. I am not trying to damn it with faint praise.  It is a worthy addition to my top 10 list of things I want for Christmas.